Young people are society's greatest treasure as they constitute the future of humanity and the destiny of human civilization itself. The associative movement, in turn, is one of the generational links that guarantees this continuity and the transmission of knowledge and identity within a community.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought forth new and disturbing challenges to the associative movement in general and to folklore groups, in particular, where young people have a preponderant role not only in learning the elements of our identity matrix, but also in its perpetuation to future generations.
It appears that, due to the inherent constraints, namely the confinement and forced stagnation of the associative movement, its actors, particularly young people, seem to be creating new habits, new routines, a social and community isolation process with potential trend.
The associative sector dedicated to folklore feels the danger of the exodus of Portuguese folklorists, which could lead, in the short term, to the loss of its greatest asset: its people, from children, teenagers, young and old alike.
Thus, combined with other initiatives promoted by the Youth Office of the Federation of Portuguese Folklore (FFP), we intend to continue the task of preserving and disseminating our cultural heritage of traditional and popular character through the training of the younger actors in the cultural and associative community, bringing them, once again, to the debate around so precious theme.
In this social stagnation, with the National Congress of Young Folklorists, the FFP aims to "stir things up" inviting young folklorists in the country, in the autonomous regions and Portuguese communities around the world to debate on the associative movement and the effects of the pandemic in associations and cultural agents linked to traditional and popular culture.
It is necessary to gather and rethink the post-pandemic future, referring to the ways in which folk groups can reinvent themselves, exploring alternative actions that go beyond their usual performances. Having young people a recognized role in stimulating the groups to which they belong, it is intended to enable them with tools that help the associations return to their activities, and motivate them to continue the willful and patriotic research work, safeguarding and dissemination of the Portuguese intangible cultural heritage.
Under the circumstances, according to security rules of the General Health Directorate, and acting with prudence and respect for the health and human life, we opted to hold the Congress through a digital platform, allowing the participation of a greater number of youth. It is estimated that approximately 500 young people, from mainland Portugal, to the Azores, Madeira and the Portuguese communities abroad (Brazil, Canada, USA, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany) may be connected on May 29, to debate around what unites them: the Portuguese identity.
Synopsis of the themes to be addressed in the Congress:
Culture in a time of pandemic.
We will approach how to face the contemporary problem of folklore in the aftermath of an overwhelming pandemic of society and the associative movement.
Various multidisciplinary cultural agents linked to other sectors of culture, such as theater, music and associations, will be involved in this multidisciplinary discussion.
Sociological / psychological effects of the pandemic on society and its social / cultural structures.
A sociological / psychological approach will be given on the effects felt, at various levels, on the cultural structures of the country as a result of the physical and social isolation of people belonging to a community or community organization, as is the case of cultural associations.
What paths could be opened for a gradual return to activity?
The traditional and popular Portuguese costume
A historical perspective on the evolution of traditional attire and its inevitable interdependence with the environment will be a central theme for discussion as it becomes a relevant topic among young folklorists. The natural environment constitutes one of the essential aspects in the distinctive features of the Portuguese traditional folk costume. Details for a correct creation of the Portuguese folk costume will be a fundamental aspect up for discussion.
One of the dominant aspects in the performing arts focuses on the treatment given to the various actors in a folklore show, for example, with regard to the music ensemble: better positioning of the musicians, singers and the choir (if any).
Likewise, the planning of the ensemble itself, differentiated from the rest of the folk group, deserves a closer look, thus seeking to outline the precautions to be taken regarding the valuation of this important vector of a folk group.
Folklore and performing arts
Does the term "show" apply to public performances of folklore and ethnography? Based on the premise that this is the case, it is necessary to classify folklore performances, ensuring that they become exhibitions of increasing performative quality. The performing arts play a key role in this process of artistic creation without implying a distortion of the essence of the Portuguese folk tradition.
Given its central location, the Maritime Museum of Ílhavo (more popularly referred to as "Cod Museum'), was the location found to carry out the FFP Young Folklorists Congress, where it will be broadcast around the world.